Introduction to Contract Courses

Honors Contract Course

Honors Contract Courses allows you to earn Honors credit in a non-Honors course through the completion of an additional project. These projects may consist of additional readings or assignments, written projects not expected of other students in the course, guided individual research, class presentations, additional student-faculty discussions, co-teaching, or any acceptable project that examines the course material in more depth than the regular class. These projects vary depending on your field of study. For example, as a STEM major your project may be helping a professor on a lab project. As a liberal arts major your project may be to write a research paper on a topic related to the course.

Steps to submitting an Honors Contract Course proposal

  1. Decide what course(s) you want to turn into a Honors Contract Course(s).
    • Any course can be used to earn Honors credit as long as the instructor is willing
  2. Ask your instructor to allow you to take the course for Honors credit.
    • If permission is granted, work with your instructor to develop a project.
    • *See email template below for an example of how to ask a professor
  3. Fill out the DocuSign contract proposal form
    • Note: It is extremely important that you enter all information (especially your instructor’s email address) accurately.
    • The deadline for filing the form is October 1 for the fall semester and March 1 for the spring semester. Summer session forms are due by the end of the first week of the class.
    • Miniterm and Wintermester classes are not eligible for Honors credit.
  4. Await approval from the Honors College.
    • Upon approval of your project, you will receive an email with the subject line “Please DocuSign: Honors Contract Course Project Submission.” You MUST retain this message in order to be able to submit your completed project at the end of the semester.
  5. Once the project is completed, refer back to your saved email to access the DocuSign
    • Projects must be submitted by uploading a PDF file to the original DocuSign no later than 5pm on Prep Day.

Email template

Hello *insert professor’s name and proper title here*,

I am currently enrolled in your Course Name. Section Number course. As a student in the Honors College we have a process that allows us to earn Honors credit for non-Honors courses. I am interested in earning Honors credit through your course, which would consist of completing an additional project for you by the end of the semester. This can include a research paper, class presentation, building on existing assignments, completing and discussing additional readings, preparing study guides for the class, or providing research assistance.

Please let me know if you would be interested in allowing me to earn Honors credit for your course. If so, we would need to fill out a Docusign form and plan my project.

Thank you for the consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you.

All best,

*insert name here*

Examples of Contract Course projects

In the past, many different projects have been submitted. For example, a study on The Art of War and the effects the book has had on warfare. Another example was research economic nationalism in the modern world.

  • Research papers and/or presentations
    • Build on existing assignments
  • Completing and discussing additional readings
  • Preparing study guides for a class
  • Providing research assistance

Introduction to Contract Courses: DocuSign

To initiate the contract for a contract course, the student must utilize DocuSign. DocuSign is a single online form that transitions the contract from the initial proposal to instructor evaluation in a single workflow. The deadline to begin this process is October 1st for the fall semester & March 1st for the spring semester.

After discussing your proposed project with your instructor, you are now ready to initiate the DocuSign process. When you initiate the form, it is imperative that you enter your name and email address in BOTH the “Student” and “Student (Submit Project)” fields and your instructor’s name and email address in BOTH the “Instructor (Initial)” and “Instructor (Evaluation)” fields. Entering yourself and your instructor in multiple signing roles allows the form to cycle back to you so that you can submit your contract project and your instructor can evaluate it at the end of the semester.

If your instructor does not sign the form, the workflow will stall, and you will have to begin again. In order to complete the first step in the workflow, you must enter the course information and a detailed project description. You will also need an electronic copy of the course syllabus to attach to the form. You will receive automated messages from DocuSign as the form moves through its workflow.

Once the Honors College approves your project, you will receive an email with the subject line “Please DocuSign: Honors Contract Course Project Submission.” You MUST retain this message in order to be able to submit your completed project at the end of the semester. Because you will not receive additional reminder emails, you should mark the project submission deadline (which is always 5:00 PM on University Prep Day) in your planner as soon as you submit a contract proposal.

Just as the Honors College will no longer send reminder emails to students who have submitted contract proposals, it will no longer send three reminder emails to instructors during Finals Week. Instead, instructors, too, will need to retain the automated DocuSign emails they receive in order to complete the workflow.

Once the project is completed, refer back to your saved email to access the DocuSign for the next part. You will receive an email close to the deadline for the semester from the Honors College, where you can submit your project, amount of Academic Experiences earned, and have yourself and your professor sign.

All signers will receive a copy of the completed form once the workflow is complete. The completed form will serve as your confirmation of the outcome of the contract.